Jeffrey Montes
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L Machine

speculative generation ship
client: Columbia University
my role/scope: everything
type: student work

Architecture, defined as the human organization of space itself, is the ultimate Space artifact. L-machine is a Deep Space probe on the scale of a village. It is a habitat with ruination as its ultimate end; an architectural archive for the future.

This was my very first Space architecture project.

portfolio excerpt


Since all outer space habitats thus far have been determined by launch-vehicle geometry, there exists no veritable account of human spatial organization in micro-gravity. L-Machine is a life-supporting artifact located at Lagrange Point 4 of the Sun-Earth system. It operates as a deprogrammed scaffold onto which human organization of space through time is architecturally archived, giving us the first true account of “program” in Space. In order to allow for the full potential of spatial invention, rotating structures of various cross-sections and dimensions are used to generate a rich spectrum of gravities.

Given that all space architectures are firstly life-support machines with an utterly inflexible interior-exterior distinction, the problem of human space habitation is backgrounded by a friction between human biology and the machines that enable it. Space architecture is always already a “health station." Since life in space will be dominated by attention to basic needs, the project addresses the idiosyncrasies of living inside a machine via the integration of structure, life support and living space.

The few existing precedents for living in Space offer little as models of spatial organization since they are disjointed from humanity's rich history of spatial organization by the rocket's engineering limits. The goal of L-Machine is to provide an architectural account of how humans would self-organize in Space over scales of time shallow and deep; from the lifespans of individuals, families and generations, to those of cultures and entire histories.

Sketch gallery